2015 Critics’ Choice Awards – More Perceptive Than The Oscars®?


Some Oscar® wrongs were at least partially (and in two cases, totally) righted at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards. Selma, for example, at least got more nominations; The LEGO Movie won Best Animated Feature, and Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) won for Score (while being not being considered at all for that award by Oscar®).

Birdman wound up with seven awards – including two for Michael Keaton (Best Actor in a Comedy and Best Actor); Boyhood got four (Best Director, Best Young Actor, Supporting Actress and Best Picture), and The Grand Budapest Hotel got three (Best Comedy, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design).

This year’s Louis XIII Genius Award went to Ron Howard; the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Kevin Costner and the very first MVP Award (for the most prodigious body of work over the last year) went to Jessica Chastain.

Host Michael Stahan (Live with Kelly and Michael) struggled a bit with his opening monologue, but got stronger as the night went on. The complete list of winners follow the jump.

Best Picture


WINNER: Boyhood

Gone Girl

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game



The Theory of Everything




Quelle surprise, non?


Best Director

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ava DuVernay – Selma

David Fincher – Gone Girl

Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman

Angelina Jolie – Unbroken

WINNER: Richard Linklater – Boyhood


Again, not much of a surprise.


Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game

Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler

WINNER: Michael Keaton – Birdman

David Oyelowo – Selma

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything


Okay, major upset here. The general consensus had either Benedict Cumberbatch or Eddie Redmayne winning here. I expected Redmayne, whose Stephen Hawking might have seemed showy but was very delicately nuanced.

Keaton was pretty spectacular on Birdman, though, so it might be an upset, but it’s based on very good work.


Best Actress

Jennifer Aniston – Cake

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

WINNER: Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon – Wild


The consensus winner in predictions beforehand.


Best Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice

Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

WINNER: J. K. Simmons – Whiplash


Nailed it! Simmons gave one of the best performances of the year, supporting or leading. I walked out of Whiplash in shock. It was that powerful.


Best Supporting Actress

WINNER: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer


It takes guts to shoot a film over twelve years, but it takes even more to play a single mom over that period of time – and Arquette really was as amazing as she was gutsy.


Best Young Actor/Actress

WINNER: Ellar Coltrane — Boyhood

Ansel Elgort — The Fault in Our Stars

Mackenzie Foy — Interstellar

Jaeden Lieberher — St. Vincent

Tony Revolori — The Grand Budapest Hotel

Quvenzhané Wallis — Annie

Noah Wiseman — The Babadook


Casting the wrong kid – or a less talented on – would have ruined Boyhood. Coltrane made it sing.


Best Acting Ensemble

WINNER: Birdman


The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Into the Woods



Any one of these could have won and the others would have no right to complain. That’s how strong these ensembles are. I might have given the award to Selma, though, because it’s not just an amazing film, it’s the most important one – being the very first movie about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a crucial point in American history.


Best Adapted Screenplay

WINNER: Gillian Flynn — Gone Girl

Graham Moore — The Imitation Game

Paul Thomas Anderson — Inherent Vice

Anthony McCarten — The Theory of Everything

Joel and Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson — Unbroken

Nick Hornby — Wild


Another surprise. I think everyone expected the winner here to be either The Imitation Game or The Theory of Everything.


Best Original Screenplay

WINNER: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Armando Bo — Birdman

Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler

Damien Chazelle – Whiplash


My only other consideration might have been The Grand Budapest Hotel – it’s smart, funny, melodramatic and a quixotically entertaining as one could hope a Wes Anderson film should be. Birdman, I think, got the edge for being more satirical and generally having more bite.

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6

The Book of Life

The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

WINNER: The Lego Movie


The Broadcast Critics – righting the wrongs of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a single bound.


Best Action Movie

American Sniper

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Edge of Tomorrow


WINNER: Guardians of the Galaxy


Thank god the Critics’ choice Awards. The single most purely entertaining film of the summer gets an award.


Best Actor in an Action Movie

WINNER: Bradley Cooper — American Sniper

Tom Cruise — Edge of Tomorrow

Chris Evans — Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Brad Pitt — Fury

Chris Pratt — Guardians of the Galaxy


Haven’t seen the film, can’t comment.


Best Actress in an Action Movie

WINNER: Emily Blunt — Edge of Tomorrow

Scarlett Johansson — Lucy

Jennifer Lawrence — The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

Zoe Saldana — Guardians of the Galaxy

Shailene Woodley — Divergent


The Full Metal Bitch gets what’s coming to her. Lovely acceptance speech, too.


Best Comedy


WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel

St. Vincent

Top Five

22 Jump Street


My pick all the way.


Best Actor in a Comedy

Jon Favreau – Chef

Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel

WINNER: Michael Keaton – Birdman

Bill Murray – St. Vincent

Chris Rock – Top Five

Channing Tatum – 22 Jump Street


I kinda wish Ralph Fiennes had won this one. It’s his strangest role and he went for it with such gusto.


Best Actress in a Comedy

Rose Byrne – Neighbors

Rosario Dawson – Top Five

Melissa McCarthy – St. Vincent

WINNER: Jenny Slate – Obvious Child

Kristen Wiig – The Skeleton Twins


If you haven’t seen Obvious Child yet, you should do so. Jenny Slate is just crazy good!


Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

The Babadook

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

WINNER: Interstellar


Under the Skin


Frankly, I thought this category would be between three much better movies – The Babadook, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Snowpiercer.


Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious film is also his least entertaining. It’s merely good, not great. This was a misstep.


Best Foreign Language Film

WINNER: Force Majeure



Two Days, One Night

Wild Tales


Force Majeure just didn’t do it for me. I found it boring and unfunny.


Best Documentary Feature


Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

Jodorowsky’s Dune

Last Days in Vietnam

WINNER: Life Itself

The Overnighters


A slight bit of sentiment may have influenced the vote here, but Life Itself is a brilliant warts-and-all documentary based on Roger Ebert’s autobiography of the same name – and same warts-and-all honesty. I might have picked citizenfour over it, but it would have been a coin toss.


Best Art Direction

Kevin Thompson, George DeTitta Jr. – Birdman

WINNER: Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock – The Grand Budapest Hotel

David Crank, Amy Wells – Inherent Vice

Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis – Interstellar

Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock – Into the Woods

Ondrej Nekvasil, Beatrice Brentnerova – Snowpiercer


Never in doubt.


Best Cinematography

WINNER: Emmanuel Lubezki — Birdman

Robert Yeoman — The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hoyte Van Hoytema — Interstellar

Dick Pope — Mr. Turner

Roger Deakins — Unbroken


I haven’t seen Mr. Turner, but of the others, Lubezki’s work is the best.


Best Costume Design

WINNER: Milena Canonero – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Mark Bridges – Inherent Vice

Colleen Atwood – Into the Woods

Anna B. Sheppard — Maleficent

Jacqueline Durran — Mr. Turner


My personal favorite – The Grand Budapest Hotel was shot in three distinct periods, each requiring the proper costuming. Canonero pulled it off brilliantly.


Best Editing

WINNER: Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione — Birdman

Sandra Adair — Boyhood

Kirk Baxter — Gone Girl

Lee Smith — Interstellar

Tom Cross — Whiplash


Crise and Mirrione were ignored by Oscar®, but not by the critics. I concur.


Best Hair & Makeup


WINNER: Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Into the Woods



Not my area of expertise, but there was such an astounding variety of human and alien people and creatures – and so much practical work involved – that I think this was the right choice.


Best Score

Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game

Jóhann Jóhannsson – The Theory of Everything

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Gone Girl

WINNER: Antonio Sánchez – Birdman

Hans Zimmer – Interstellar


Brilliant, innovative – Sánchez’s percussive score drove the film as its lead character became crazier and crazier. Oscar® snubbed Sanchez, but the critics, once again, got it right.


Best Song

“Big Eyes” Lana Del Rey – Big Eyes

“Everything is Awesome” Jo Li and The Lonely Island – The Lego Movie

WINNER: “Glory” John Legend and Common – Selma

“Lost Stars” Keira Knightley – Begin Again

“Yellow Flicker Beat” Lorde – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1


At least Selma got some other nominations here – unlike with the Oscars®.


Best Visual Effects

WINNER: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Edge of Tomorrow

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies



For me, this category was one massive coin toss. Four of the five movies here were brilliant and the other was very, very good. Each had mind-bogglingly good visual effects. I think what got Dawn the award was the innovation of taking motion capture out of the studio and onto real world locations. That $#!+ was just too cool!